Androids continue to dominate the smartphone market, and they have amazing capabilities to help us do just about anything. Unfortunately, these capabilities can also help cybercriminals do just about anything too, thanks to your Android’s camera, location tracking, microphone and more.
If your Android is behaving strangely, you might be wondering if there is a virus on your Android. If your Android is in fact infected, your privacy is at stake, as well as your investment. Malware can render your smartphone unusable, even after bringing it to a cell phone repair shop for a software reset.
What can Malware on My Android Do?
Although there are a few jerks that just like to ruin people’s day, most cybercriminals design Malware to generate revenue. Malware may pirate your information, force your phone to send messages to premium rate text services, or inundate you with adware that will urge you to download harmful apps or make you view advertisements.
There’s a lot of information on your Android at stake – like your personal information, your passwords, your contact book, and more. Crooks might harvest your information to use it themselves, or sell it on the dark web. They might also use ransomware, locking your device and encrypting your data so that they can demand a ransom payment for you to regain access to your files.
How Can I Tell if My Android Has Malware?
Just like computers, phones are vulnerable to external and internal damage. External damage is pretty obvious, but you might be completely oblivious to Malware wreaking havoc on your Android’s internals. Computer worms, trojan horses and spyware are always hiding in the dark, waiting to knock on your door.
If your phone is repeating tasks that are taking up a lot of resources on your phone, you may be a victim of Malware.
Are there pop up ads every time you use your phone?
Do your apps take forever to load?
Is your phone suddenly slower?
Is your battery suddenly draining quickly?
Have you been hit with a large phone bill or unexplained data usage?
Do you see apps that you don’t remember installing on your phone?
These are signs that your phone might be infected with Malware.
If you are concerned about Malware, it’s a good idea to run an antivirus scan on your phone. There are many free options on the Google Play Store, and paid services. Look for an app that will run complete scans and updates its threat database frequently.
A good antivirus app will automatically scan and protect your device and warn you about apps that are privacy risks, that would allow pop-up ads on your phone, or might drain your battery. Look for cybersecurity apps that will also block unwanted phone calls and messages.
How Do I Remove Malware from My Android?
If you are dealing with Malware, you need to stop it in its tracks:
- Turn off the phone and restart it in safe mode.
- Uninstall any apps that you are not using, and any suspicious apps. If you have installed an app right before your Android started behaving strangely, uninstall that too.
- Understand that this may not completely remove the Malware but may prevent any further damage.
- Other apps may have been infected by the Malware.
- Look into what apps are using the most resources, and delete them as soon as possible.
- Install a mobile security app on your phone, and run a full scan.
How do I Protect My Android Against Malware?
- Always keep the Android operating system and your apps updated.
- Don’t click on unusual links in texts and emails.
- Use strong, random passwords, or better yet, a password manager.
- Avoid insecure wi-fi connections, or use a VPN when you connect to public wi-fi.
- Protect your other devices that connect to your home network.
- Never install apps from third-party sources.
- When you install an app from the Google Play store, read the fine print and understand the permissions you will be granting the app.
Of course, it is easier to prevent Malware from infecting your phone than to deal with it. The effects of an infected Android can be devastating, and can spread to other devices on your network. When it comes to online security, a stitch in time saves nine.